The GMHS Hitching Post

George Mason High School Newsletter - January 23, 2020


Dear Mustang Families,

As an extension of our Wild Horse Wednesday student advisory program, we are excited to announce our programming for Rebound Week, starting with our Rebound Day on Monday, January 27th. A special thank you to our student leadership team who assisted in the development of the schedule.

On Monday morning, students will report to their stable groups. Students will then break out into grade level activities aligned with our focus on social-emotional learning, career and college readiness, approaches to learning, and community outreach. We are committed to a focus on the whole learner to ensure students attain the necessary skills for success in and outside the classroom.

Freshmen will engage with their school counselors focusing on college and career readiness as part of the Profile of a Graduate. They will be working in Naviance for the first time where students will complete the Career Cluster Finder as well as their Game Plan Survey. They will also learn about the GM Course Selection process and complete a Counseling Needs Assessment Survey. Students will then have an opportunity to meet with their teachers to review their academic standing. Students will also meet with our build/design team as part of the student engagement process for the new George Mason High School. We will also provide students an opportunity to reflect and collaborate on the Standards-Based Grading experience.

Sophomores will continue to make progress on their Personal Projects and meet with their school counselors to focus on their Career and College Readiness goals. Students will also work in Naviance to complete the Strengths Explorer, their Game Plan Survey, and their Career Interest Inventory. Students will also learn how IB principles are infused across all curriculum and have an opportunity to meet with their teachers.

On October 30th, juniors visited Thomas Jefferson and Mount Daniel as part of our mentorship program and school focus on community outreach and service. Juniors will return to MD and TJ and work with younger students throughout the morning. They will also engage in new building discussions and participate in team-building activities (as part of our SCA's unity plan for Rebound Week).

Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors will also engage in a reflection of the documentary Screenagers. Screenagers explores struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction and offers solutions to help kids find balance.

Seniors will experience career shadowing as part of the Profile of a Graduate and career and college readiness goals. Students have chosen their career interest. On Friday, seniors need to submit Parent and Student sign-off forms for Monday’s Career Shadowing. (Many students have received hard copies in English classes).

Career Shadowing Day Parent & Student Sign Off

Career Shadowing Day Emergency Contact Information

(Information students provide to the Shadowing Host)

We are committed to providing our students with learning opportunities that will enhance their educational experience. As always, thank you for your support.


Team Mason



On Friday, January 24th, we will end the second grading period & first semester. Students’ semester grades will be visible and finalized in PowerSchool and Schoology on Thursday, January 30th, at 3:30 P.M.

As you know, this will be our first reporting period in which we will convert our standards-based grading courses to traditional letter grades. As a reminder, I have listed the courses participating in standards-based grading below:

ELECTIVES: Chorus, Theater, TV/Media Production

GRADE 9: Algebra I, Language & Literature, PE/Health, World History II

GRADE 10: AP Government, Chemistry, Earth Science, Geometry

I have also included the link to our division level standards-based grading webpage. The site contains a variety of resources to support your understanding of standards-based grading, the terminology & practices, and step-by-step Schoology navigation.

SBG @ FCCPS Website

As you review your student’s grades and see a letter grade at the midpoint of the school year, I want to remind you that the goal for each student is continued growth. We recognize that our students are achievers, and some strive for an “A” at all cost. While we know our work in refining the process of providing feedback and unpacking Schoology navigation is an area that we must improve, I see our shared need in helping our students understand who they are as learners and view learning as a process rather than a grade. By focusing on the standards, we have removed the effort and behavior grades that are often embedded in traditional grades and are sharing that data with you in your students approaches to learning (ATL) scale in Schoology.

I have asked that each teacher participating in a standards-based grading course review the conversion chart below with their respective classes next week and to reinforce the goal of learning and continued growth. This is the official conversion chart being used by all MYP courses in FCCPS.

As educators, we continually reflect, refine, and grow to support the ever changing needs of our students. We are embracing this philosophy with our standards-based grading work and will continue to improve in order to best support student growth.

We are here to support you! As you have questions about the specifics of your student’s progression of learning, their classroom teacher is your primary point of contact. Our administrative team and Standards-Based Learning Coach Mr. Peter Laub are here to support you should you have questions about standards-based grading and Schoology navigation.

Thank you.


Matt Hills

Principal, George Mason High School

Overall FCCPS Conversion Chart


On February 5th, 9th grade students will complete Lesson 5 (Mental Health Disorders and Developmental Disabilities) from the Behind Happy Faces curriculum led by the GMHS Student Services Team. In this lesson students will learn more about the common symptoms of psychotic disorders and developmental disabilities. Please see these follow-up questions to continue the conversation at home.

Follow-up questions:

  • What is the difference between an everyday challenge and a mental health disorder?
  • How are mental health disorders diagnosed?
  • Do you know anyone with a developmental disability?

Please visit the BHF website for links to the February 5th lesson and previous lessons.



January 28

IB Information Session

7:00 p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Mustang Cafe

January 29

Early Release

12:10 p.m. - Dismissal

January 30

Rising 9th Grade Parent Meeting

7:00 p.m. - 8:30 pm.

Mustang Cafe


January 31


9:00 a.m.

January 30

Report Card Grades Available in

PowerSchool and Schoology

February 5

PTSA Joint Meeting

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Henderson Cafetorium

February 12

Early Release

12:10 p.m. -- Dismissal

February 17

President's Day Holiday

No School

February 20

College 101- An Overview of the College Process

7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Mustang Café

College 101 will be an information session aimed at Juniors and their parents but all GM students and parents are welcome to attend. An overview of the basic timeline for the college admissions process for junior year and senior year will be explained



Mulch Madness Fundraiser Sponsored by the GMHS Athletic Boosters Association

Order now at the Mason Fan Shop (MASON FAN SHOP). Top quality double-shredded hardwood mulch delivered by Mustang Athletes directly to your home! Bags are $5 each for 3 cu. ft. Delivery date to Falls Church area homes is Saturday, March 28th. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Please help support the GMHS Athletic Boosters in our mission to support Mason Athletics. Deadline to order mulch is March 18th.

For questions, please contact our Mulch Co-Chair Laura Hodges at


GM Mulch Sale Flyer
Band Mural


Painted by Paige Kaufman, Laura Peppe, Alexa Peyton and Kate Potrykus -- Class of 2009



Does your student need a tutor or a quiet place to study? Check out the link below:

Saturday Learning Lounge


Keep Calm and Check Parent University

Did you know that FCCPS has a resource for parents that pulls together all of the parent education opportunities across the schools? Anything that helps parents get smarter about school and parenting is included in Parent University.


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You can find current and past issues of the GMHS Hitching Posts from Principal Hills on the GMHS website at the link below:

Principal's Newsletter